The eye in the sky is watching.

The Hilliard Division of Police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol are collaborating to stop unsafe driving in the Interstate 270 construction zone within Hilliard's city limits. The area extends 1 mile in each direction from the Cemetery Road exit and on-ramp.

"Our goal is to educate drivers and change their behavior," Hilliard Lt. Doug Lightfoot said.

Construction is scheduled in Hilliard's jurisdiction of I-270 through November, Lightfoot said.

Patrol Lt. Robert Sellers said the law-enforcement agencies are working to create a "positive impact in the construction zone."

Standard traffic-violation fines are doubled in construction zones if workers are present, he said.

"Is a $300 fine really worth saving a few seconds?" Sellers said.

Although cracking down on speeding in the construction zone is a primary focus, officers also are watching for tailgating and failing to move over for vehicles stopped in the median.

"If you are less than 15 feet behind the car in front of you (at 60 mph) and they suddenly have to stop, you are going to hit them or the fence," Lightfoot said.

In almost every instance, striking the fence beside the highway results in at least one other car being involved in the accident, Lightfoot said.

From July 1, 2017, through Jan. 10, Hilliard officers responded to 189 traffic crashes on their section of I-270.

Of the 189 crashes, 31 resulted in injuries and 33 of the accidents involved three or more vehicles, Lightfoot said.

During enforcement blitzes, a highway-patrol aircraft observes traffic patterns on the freeway below and reports to Hilliard officers on the ground.

The highway patrol can calculate the speed of vehicles based on how many hash marks painted on the pavement that a vehicle passes in a specific period of time, Lightfoot said.

Hilliard officers then can stop a vehicle when it is safe to do so. Construction zones often create "unique challenges," Sellers said, with narrow lanes and often no shoulders, making traffic stops unsafe.

Lightfoot said Hilliard police asked for help after a six-week period in October and November in which three cruisers, stopped for various reasons on the shoulder of the road or partially blocking a lane with lights activated, were struck by another vehicle.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo